Saturday, August 2, 2014

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me GoNever Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Never Let Me Go seems to be one of those books that readers either love or hate, perhaps because it is very unusual, especially for science fiction. I'm in the love camp. It's a book about relationships and about coping with major problems more than it is about the science behind the story. It's also about prejudice, especially the convenience of prejudice. I wonder how many stars Thomas Jefferson would have given this book, if he was alive to review it. The bigotry in this novel reminded me of the way Jefferson opposed slavery, but kept slaves and even had a long affair with a woman he owned. I don't want to reveal too much about Kazuo Ishiguro's book, but I think I can say the form of bigotry in this story helps the general population of the book's England even more than slavery helped America's economy in its early days – with the same type of moral implication.

My wife and I watched the film version of Never Let Me Go on the same day I finished the book, so everything was still clear in my mind. The film was overall a good translation from page to screen. There were times when I thought something important was missing, but each time I checked with my wife, who hadn't read the book, she understood what was happening. I do wish the film had emphasized the relationship between Kathy and Ruth a bit more. Ruth was a more positive character in the book, so her actions and feelings of guilt were less upsetting in the film.

I'm not going to write a synopsis in this review, because I don't want to include any spoilers. I'll just say the story made me think. It would be a wonderful choice for a book club.

Steve Lindahl – author of Motherless Soul and White Horse Regressions

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